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Monday, February 04, 2013

King Richard Discovered After 500 Years!

This is some of the most exciting news to come out of England in some time. I have read many books about King Richard III, so he has been a fascination for me for years. That they actually discovered his remains, and that they have all the physical marks of battle death and even the DNA evidence to back it up--it is nothing short of remarkable! Here is the story.

On Monday, the king's skeleton lay in a glass box in a meeting room within the university library. It was a browned, fragile-looking thing, its skull pocked with injuries, missing its feet -- which scientists say were disturbed sometime after burial -- and with a pronounced s-shape to the spine.


Appleby said the 10 injuries to the body were inflicted by weapons such as swords, daggers and halberds and were consistent with accounts of Richard being struck down in battle -- his helmet knocked from his head -- before his body was stripped naked and flung over the back of a horse in disgrace.

Appleby said two of the blows to the head could have been fatal. Other scars, including a knife wound to the buttock, bore the hallmarks of "humiliation injuries" inflicted after death.

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He ruled England between 1483 and 1485, during the decades-long battle over the throne known as the Wars of the Roses, which pitted two wings of the ruling Plantagenet dynasty -- York and Lancaster -- against one another.

King Richard ruled after his brother, King Edward. This is the King that Shakespeare immortalized in his work as a true villain, but there are other views of King Richard, and the victor (Henry Tudor--who hated Richard) wrote the history books...

The story is fascinating. There have been many quality historical fiction books about this time period, but the one I thought was one of the best that concentrated on King Richard was The Sunne In Splendor, by Sharon Kay Penman. She is a brilliant author and you believe you are experiencing the time period through her work. The stories are not lily white - that is for SURE. The time was a time of scandal and intrigue and this story reflects that. 

We will never really know the truth about King Richard, but it is pretty marvelous to have found him. 


5 comments:

SarahElisabeth said...

We are excited by this story too. I must look out the book you recommend. Have you seen Barbara Willard's Mantlemass series? She wrote historical fiction about a family in Sussex including a book called, A Sprig of Broom, about Richard Plantagenet who is reputed to have been the son of Richard III. The grave of Richard Plantagenet is in a beautiful graveyard of an ancient, ruined church in Kent, England. It isn't the easiest place to find but is well worth a visit. I've got a photo of the grave on my blog.

Debbie said...

Very cool! I'll be showing this to my daughter. It fits right into our current studies of the Middle Ages.

Under the Sky said...

I find this stuff SOOO fascinating! Glad you ladies found it so too. :D

Warmly,
Kate

Bethany said...

This is really great! We love history--Ceesa really loves all things history and we've been studying the kings and queens of England for several years!

Carmen Myers said...

Another wonderful fiction story about King Richard III is "Desire The Kingdom" A Story of the Last Plantagenets by Paula Simonds Zabka.
It has a great story of love and jealousy while being quite authentic to the people, places and events of the time.